Getting paid for a haircut sure beats the reverse. Especially when it’s for $1,500.
That’s what it took — so to speak — for 4-H’er Jordan Buoy, 16, to agree to give up his 6- to 7-inch-long mullet as the 2021 Lincoln County Fair closed Monday.
Two days later, Buoy sat shorn but pleased in a chair at North Platte’s Attitudes Salon after fulfilling the condition of the high “bid” on him at the fair’s second annual “premium auction” of young animal exhibitors.
To borrow a poker term, a quartet of local cattle growers called and raised the auctioneer’s suggested $1,000 bid.
After Buoy told the crowd he wasn’t keen on a haircut, “the auctioneer asked me, ‘Would you cut your hair for a thousand dollars?’” the seven-year 4-H competitor said Thursday.
“I told him I might. And then they continued the auction, and some of the bidders out in the crowd said they’d bid $1,500 if I would cut it.
“I told the auctioneer I would. And so I have no mullet.”
To be fair, Buoy knew the bidders who put him on the spot: TD Angus owner Trey Wasserburger, Olson Farms proprietors Kirk and Stacy Olson and Tyrell Rousey of Rousey SimAngus.
“That kid had a good sense of humor,” said a laughing Wasserburger, the Olsons’ son-in-law and Rousey’s pasturing neighbor.
He said he knows Jordan from working closely with his father, Mark, a North Platte-based brand inspector for the Nebraska Brand Committee.
When the auctioneer issued the $1,000 challenge, Wasserburger leaned toward his companions.
“I said (to them), ‘You want to partner on it?’” he said. “They said, ‘Yeah,’ and the whole place clapped.”
The humorous scenario was set up by the Lincoln County Agricultural Society’s prefair decision to retain an alternative to the traditional end-of-fair animal auction.
Due to COVID-19, Buoy said, the 2020 fair had 4-H exhibitors sell their animals privately — without a typical auction — after finishing their last contest. All the sold animals were off the fairgrounds by Sunday, Buoy said.
To let local residents pitch in more support, the youth exhibitors were “bid” upon Monday after describing themselves and what they’d use their extra money for.
After seeing how things went in 2020, “they kind of liked that, so they kept it,” Buoy said.
He got “base price” — approximately $1,725 — after the July 24 4-H cattle show for the steer he had raised all year, said his mother, Julie.
So how did he wind up literally losing his hair at Monday’s premium auction?
Here’s what Jordan read to the crowd:
“Thanks to all of you, I was able to buy a vehicle and give my dad his pickup back! But now I need gas money and money for college for myself and Herby Hereford, who left for Casper (Wyoming) College yesterday.
“Dad says I also need money for a haircut, but that’s not happening! Please help a guy out, and thank you all for supporting 4-H.”
Jordan’s winning “bid” fell within the range of $500 to $2,600 that other exhibitors received from Monday’s event, he and his parents said.
It was a pleasure to call his bluff, Wasserburger said.
“One of my favorite things to do is support that 4-H auction, because that’s agriculture’s future,” he said. “That’s their one payday.”
Buoy, who will be a North Platte High School junior this fall, had wanted to donate his mullet to Locks of Love, a nonprofit group that fashions wigs for children facing hair loss. It wasn’t long enough, he said.
So he agreed to have his hair cut once. Does he plan to grow it out again?
“I am,” Jordan said.
“I’ll furnish the clippers next time,” his dad chimed in.